The Library of Birmingham project: lifelong learning for the digital age

John Blewitt, Brian Gambles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Library of Birmingham (LoB) is a £193million project designed to provide a new space for lifelong learning and knowledge growth, a physical and virtual portal for Birmingham's citizens to the wider world. In cooperation with a range of private, public, and third-sector bodies, as well as individual citizens, the library, due to open in June 2013, will articulate a continuing process of organic growth and emergence. Key delivery themes focus on: arts and creativity, citizenship and community, enterprise and innovation, learning and skills and the new media ecology. A landmark design in the heart of the cultural district of the city, the LoB aims to stimulate sustainable economic growth, urban regeneration and social inclusion by offering a wide range of new digital learning services, real and virtual community spaces, and new opportunities for interpreting and exploiting internationally significant collections of documentary archives, photography, moving image, and rare printed books. Additionally, the LoB will offer physical space for creative, cultural, enterprise, and knowledge development. This paper outlines the cultural and educational thinking that informs the project and the challenges experienced in developing innovative service redesign.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-66
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Adult and Continuing Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • public library
  • virtual community
  • digital
  • access
  • lifelong learning


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